Between 2008 and 2011 the Number of Us Troops

Between 2008 and 2011 the Number of Us Troops.

Taliban soldiers on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, 1999.
Amir Shah/AP Images

An Al-Qaeda, Taliban Nexus

The United nations Security Quango adopts Resolution 1267, creating the and so-called al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which links the ii groups as terrorist entities and imposes sanctions on their funding, travel, and arms shipments. The Un motion follows a period of ascendancy for al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, who guided the terror group from Transitional islamic state of afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan, in the late 1980s, to Sudan in 1991, and dorsum to Transitional islamic state of afghanistan in the mid-1990s. The Taliban, which rose from the ashes of Transitional islamic state of afghanistan’south post-Soviet civil war, provide al-Qaeda sanctuary for operations.

Afghans carry a picture of Massood in Kabul.

Afghans carry a moving-picture show of Massood in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Kamran Jebreili/AP Images

A Northern Alliance Assassination

Ahmad Shah Massoud, commander of the Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban coalition, is assassinated by al-Qaeda operatives. The killing of Massoud, a master of guerilla warfare known as the Lion of the Panjshir, deals a serious blow to the anti-Taliban resistance. Terrorism experts believe his bump-off assured bin Laden protection past the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks. Expert Peter Bergen later calls Massoud’southward assassination “the curtain raiser for the attacks on New York Metropolis and Washington, DC.”

World trade center towers burning on 9/11.

Terrorist attack on World Trade Center.
Steven James Silva/Reuters

Terrorists Strike the U.Due south.

Al-Qaeda operatives hijack iv commercial airliners, crashing them into the Globe Trade Eye in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane crashes in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Close to three thousand people die in the attacks. Although Transitional islamic state of afghanistan is the base for al-Qaeda, none of the nineteen hijackers are Afghan nationals. Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian, led the group, and fifteen of the hijackers originated from Saudi Arabia. U.South. President George Westward. Bush vows to “win the war against terrorism,” and later on zeros in on al-Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan. Bush eventually calls on the Taliban regime to “deliver to the U.s.a. authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land,” or share in their fate.

President Bush addresses a joint session of Congress.

President Bush-league addresses a articulation session of Congress.
Win McNamee/Pool/AP Images

A War Footing

President Bush signs into law a joint resolution authorizing the apply of force against those responsible for attacking the United states on September 11. This articulation resolution will subsequently exist cited by the Bush-league administration as legal rationale for its decision to take sweeping measures to combat terrorism, including invading Transitional islamic state of afghanistan, eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without a court club, and standing up the detention military camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A B-52 drops a load of bombs in Afghanistan.

A B-52 drops a load of bombs in Afghanistan.
Master Sgt. Ralph Hallmon, HO/U.S. Air Force/AP Images

The Opening Salvo

The U.S. military, with British support, begins a bombing campaign against Taliban forces, officially launching Operation Indelible Freedom. Australia, Canada, France, and Germany pledge future support. The war’s early phase [PDF] mainly involves U.Due south. air strikes on al-Qaeda and Taliban forces that are assisted by a partnership of about one thousand U.S. special forces, the Northern Alliance, and indigenous Pashtun anti-Taliban forces. The first wave of conventional ground forces arrives twelve days later. Nigh of the ground combat is between the Taliban and its Afghan opponents.

Abdul Rashid Dostum near Mazar-e-Sharif.

Abdul Rashid Dostum well-nigh Mazar-e-Sharif, Transitional islamic state of afghanistan, November 2001.
Darko Bandic/AP Images

The Taliban in Retreat

The Taliban government unravels speedily later on its loss at Mazar-e-Sharif on November nine, 2001, to forces loyal to Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek military machine leader. Over the next week Taliban strongholds crumble afterward coalition and Northern Brotherhood offensives on Taloqan (November 11), Bamiyan (November 11), Herat (November 12), Kabul (November thirteen), and Jalalabad (November 14). On November fourteen, the Un Security Quango passes Resolution 1378, calling for a “central role” for the United Nations in establishing a transitional administration and inviting member states to transport peacekeeping forces to promote stability and aid commitment.

Mujahadeen fighters in the mountains of Tora Bora.

Mujahadeen fighters in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, Dec 2001.
David Guttenfelder/AP Images

Bin Laden Escapes

Later on tracking al-Qaeda leader bin Laden to the well-equipped Tora Bora cave complex southeast of Kabul, Afghan militias engage in a fierce two-week boxing (Dec 3 to 17) with al-Qaeda militants. Information technology results in a few hundred deaths and the eventual escape of bin Laden, who is idea to have left for Islamic republic of pakistan on horseback on December 16—but a day before Afghan forces capture twenty of his remaining men. Despite intelligence pointing to bin Laden’s presence in Tora Bora, U.S. forces practice not pb the assault, which is carried out past a canaille Afghan contingent led past Hazrat Ali, Haji Zaman, and Haji Zahir. Some critics will later question why U.S. forces did not accept a more than assertive part in the engagement.

Hamid Karzai surrounded by crowd in Kabul.

Hamid Karzai in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2001.
Brennan Linsley/AP Images

An Interim Regime

Subsequently the fall of Kabul in Nov 2001, the United Nations invites major Afghan factions, most prominently the Northern Alliance and a group led past the one-time rex (but non the Taliban), to a conference in Bonn, Federal republic of germany. On December 5, 2001, the factions sign the Bonn Agreement, endorsed by Un Security Council Resolution 1383. The understanding, reportedly reached with substantial Iranian diplomatic assist considering of Islamic republic of iran’s back up for the Northern Alliance faction, installs Hamid Karzai equally interim administration head, and creates an international peacekeeping force to maintain security in Kabul. The Bonn Agreement is followed past UN Security Council Resolution 1386 on Dec 20, which establishes the International Security Assistance Forcefulness, or ISAF.

Former Taliban fighters at a jail complex in Shebargan.

Former Taliban fighters at a jail complex in Shebargan, Afghanistan.
Yuri Kozyrev/AP Images

The Taliban Plummet

The stop of the Taliban authorities is generally tied to this date, when the Taliban surrender Kandahar [PDF] and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar flees the city, leaving information technology under tribal law administered by Pashtun leaders. Despite the official fall of the Taliban, however, al-Qaeda leaders proceed to hide out in the mountains.

A U.S. soldier during a firefight near Sirkankel, Afghanistan.

A U.S. soldier during a firefight virtually Sirkankel, Afghanistan, March 2002.
Warren Zinn/Pool/AP Images

Performance Anaconda, the offset major basis set on and the largest operation since Tora Bora, is launched against an estimated eight hundred al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the Shah-i-Kot Valley south of the city of Gardez (Paktia Province). Nearly two thousand U.S. and i thou Afghan troops battle the militants. Despite the operation’s size, however, Anaconda does not represent a broadening of the war endeavor. Instead, Pentagon planners begin shifting military machine and intelligence resources away from Afghanistan in the direction of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which is increasingly mentioned as a main U.Southward. threat in the “war on terror.”

President Bush speaks at the Virginia Military Institute.

President Bush at the Virginia Military machine Plant.
Steve Helber/AP Images

Reconstructing Afghanistan

President Bush calls for the reconstruction of Transitional islamic state of afghanistan in a speech at the Virginia Military machine Institute. “By helping to build an Afghanistan that is costless from this evil and is a ameliorate place in which to live, we are working in the best traditions of George Marshall,” he says, evoking the post-World War 2 Marshall Plan that revived Western Europe. Simply the The states and its allies do not come close to Marshall Programme-like reconstruction spending for Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. The U.S. Congress appropriates over $38 billion in humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2009.

Delegates from Kandahar at the loya jirga in Kabul.

Delegates from Kandahar at the loya jirga in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Natalie Behring-Chisholm/Pool/AP Images

Transitional Authorities Named

Chairman of the Acting Assistants of Transitional islamic state of afghanistan Karzai is picked is picked to head the country’s transitional government. His selection comes during an emergency loya jirga assembled in Kabul, attended by 1,550 delegates (including about 200 women) from Afghanistan’due south 364 districts. Karzai, leader of the powerful Popalzai tribe of Durrani Pashtuns, returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan later the ix/11 attacks to organize Pashtun resistance to the Taliban. Some observers allege Karzai tolerates corruption past members of his association and his government. The Northern Alliance, dominated by indigenous Tajiks, fails in its effort to set a prime ministership, only does succeed in checking presidential powers by assigning major authorities to the elected parliament, such as the power to veto senior official nominees and to impeach a president.

Man working in brick factory.

Former refugees brand bricks for the reconstruction of their houses in Aynar hamlet, Afghanistan.
Tomas Munita/AP Images

Establishing a Reconstruction Model

The U.Due south. military creates a civil diplomacy framework to coordinate redevelopment with the United nations and nongovernmental organizations and to expand the authority of the Kabul government. These so-chosen provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs, are stood upwardly first in Gardez in November, followed by Bamiyan, Kunduz, Mazar-east-Sharif, Kandahar, and Herat. Command for private PRTs is eventually handed over to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) states. While credited with improving security for assistance agencies, the model is not universally praised. Business organisation mounts that the PRT system lacks cardinal controlling dominance, is disorganized, and creates what a U.S. Institute of Peace written report calls “an advertizing hoc approach” to security and evolution. Such criticism grows beyond the PRT program and becomes a common theme in the NATO war effort, as a maze of national caveats restricts the activities of fellow member forces. Critics contend this limits the coalition’south effectiveness.

Rumsfeld speaks to soldiers at the U.S. base in Kabul.

Rumsfeld speaks at the U.Southward. base in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 2003.
Luke Frazza/Puddle/AP Images

During a briefing with reporters in Kabul, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declares an end to “major combat.” The announcement coincides with President Bush’southward “mission accomplished” declaration of an end to fighting in Iraq. Rumsfeld says President Bush-league, U.S. Cardinal Command Chief Gen. Tommy Franks, and Afghan President Karzai “have concluded that we are at a bespeak where nosotros clearly take moved from major combat activity to a menstruation of stability and stabilization and reconstruction and activities.” There are only 8 g U.Southward. soldiers stationed in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. It is predicted that the transition from combat to reconstruction volition open the door for many aid organizations, particularly European groups, that had balked at sending troops, supplies, or other assistance.

U.S. soldiers in Bamiyan.

U.Southward. soldiers in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 2003.
Natacha Pisarenko/Pool/AP Images

An International Mission

NATO assumes control of international security forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan, expanding NATO/ISAF’s function across the country. It is NATO’due south commencement operational delivery outside of Europe. Originally tasked with securing Kabul and its surrounding areas, NATO expands in September 2005, July 2006, and October 2006. The number of ISAF troops grows appropriately, from an initial five g to around lx-5 1000 troops from xl-two countries, including all twenty-eight NATO member states. In 2006, ISAF assumes command of the international military forces in eastern Afghanistan from the U.S.-led coalition, and too becomes more involved in intensive combat operations in southern Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai shows the constitution to former king Zahir Shah.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai shows the constitution to quondam king Zahir Shah.
Ed Wray/AP Images

A Constitution for Afghanistan

An associates of 502 Afghan delegates agrees on a constitution for Afghanistan, creating a strong presidential system intended to unite the country’s diverse ethnic groups. The act is seen every bit a positive pace toward commonwealth. “Afghans have seized the opportunity provided by the United States and its international partners to lay the foundation for democratic institutions and provide a framework for national elections,” declares U.S. Administrator to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad.

Afghan election officials pass presidential election ballots.

Afghan election officials, Kabul, Afghanistan.
David Guttenfelder/AP Images

A New President for Afghanistan

In celebrated national balloting, President Karzai becomes the first democratically elected head of Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. Voters turn out in high numbers despite threats of violence and intimidation. Karzai wins with 55 per centum of the vote, while his closest rival, former education government minister Younis Qanooni, polls 16 percentage. Karzai’s election victory is marred by accusations of fraud by his opponents and by the kidnapping of three foreign UN election workers by a militant grouping. But the election is nonetheless hailed equally a victory for the fragile nation; Afghans had non gone to the polls since 1969, when they cast ballots in parliamentary elections during the reign of King Mohammed Zahir Shah.

Osama bin Laden appearing on TV screen.

Osama bin Laden, 2004.
Al Jazeera via APTN/AP Images

Bin Laden Surfaces

Signaling the persistent challenges facing the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, bin Laden releases a videotaped message three weeks subsequently the country’s presidential election and simply days before the U.S. election, which President Bush wins. In remarks aired on the Arab television network Al Jazeera, bin Laden taunts the Bush administration and takes responsibility for the attacks on September 11, 2001. “We want to restore liberty to our nation, only equally yous lay waste to our nation,” bin Laden says.

President Bush and President Karzai shaking hands in the Oval Office.

President Bush and President Karzai at the White House, 2005.
Eric Draper/White Business firm/AP Images

An Enduring U.Due south. Commitment

Afghan President Karzai and U.South. President Bush result a joint declaration that pronounces their respective countries strategic partners. The declaration gives U.South. forces access to Afghan armed forces facilities to prosecute “the war against international terror and the struggle against violent extremism.” The alliance’s goal, the agreement says, is to “strengthen U.S.-Afghan ties and help ensure Afghanistan’s long-term security, commonwealth, and prosperity.” Moreover, the understanding calls for Washington to “help organize, train, equip, and sustain Afghan security forces as Afghanistan develops the capacity to undertake this responsibility,” and to go on to rebuild the country’southward economic system and political democracy.

Election posters seen in street of independent candidate Sharifa Najib.

Ballot posters of independent candidate Sharifa Najib, September 2005.
Musadeq Sadeq/AP Images

Republic and Afghanistan

More than than six 1000000 Afghans turn out to vote for the Wolesi Jirga (Quango of People), the Meshrano Jirga (Council of Elders), and local councils. Considered the most democratic elections ever in Afghanistan, nearly half those casting ballots are women, viewed as a sign of political progress in a highly patriarchal and conservative lodge. Sixty-eight out of 249 seats are fix aside for female members of Afghanistan’southward lower business firm of parliament and 23 out of 102 are reserved in the upper house.

A U.S. soldier walks next to burning waste outside a new US military base.

A U.S. soldier outside a U.S. military base in Helmand Province, 2006.
Rodrigo Abd/AP Images

A Bloody Resurgence

Violence increases across the land during the summer months, with intense fighting erupting in the south in July. The number of suicide attacks quintuples from 27 in 2005 to 139 in 2006, while remotely detonated bombings more than double, to one,677. Despite a string of contempo election successes, some experts blame a unpleasing primal government for the spike in attacks. “As with well-nigh insurgencies, the disquisitional precondition [to the Afghan insurgency] is the plummet of governance,” says Afghanistan expert Seth Yard. Jones. Jones and other experts betoken to the many Afghans who lack basic services, the authorities’southward difficultly setting up its law forces, and the lack of international forces to assist with security.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and President George W. Bush at the NATO summit.

U.S. Secretary of Country Condoleezza Rice, U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and President George West. Bush at the NATO acme.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images

Cracks in the Coalition

At the NATO height in Riga, Latvia, rifts sally among member states on troop commitments to Afghanistan. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer sets a target of 2008 for the Afghan National Army to begin to take control of security. “I would hope that past 2008 we volition have fabricated considerable progress,” he says, “with a more stable political architecture in place, and with a strong interface between NATO and the civilian agencies and effective, trusted Afghan security forces gradually taking control.” Leaders of the twenty-six countries hold to remove some national restrictions on how, when, and where forces can exist used. But friction continues. With violence against nongovernmental assist workers increasing, U.South. Secretarial assistant of Defense force Robert Gates criticizes NATO countries in late 2007 for not sending more soldiers. “Our progress in Afghanistan is real but it is fragile,” Gates says. “At this time, many allies are unwilling to share the risks, commit the resources, and follow through on collective commitments to this mission and to each other. As a effect, we adventure allowing what has been achieved in Afghanistan to slip away.”

Pro-Taliban supporters shout slogans during a rally in Killi Nalai village.

Pro-Taliban supporters during a rally in Killi Nalai village, Pakistan, near the Afghan edge, 2007.
AP Images

A Taliban Commander Falls

A notorious Taliban war machine commander, Mullah Dadullah, is killed in a joint operation by Afghan, U.S., and NATO forces in the south of Afghanistan. Dadullah is believed to accept been a leader of guerrilla forces in the war in Helmand Province, deploying suicide bombers and ordering the kidnapping of Westerners. He once told the BBC that hundreds of suicide bombers awaited his control to launch an offensive against strange troops.

An Afghan woman mourns family members who were killed in Herat Province.

An Afghan adult female mourns family members who were killed in Herat Province in August 2008.
Fraidoon Pooyaa/AP Images

Collateral Killings Mount

Afghan and United nations investigations notice that errant fire from a U.S. gunship killed dozens of Afghan civilians in the Shindand District of western Herat Province, drawing condemnation from Afghan President Karzai and bolstering Taliban claims that coalition forces are unable to protect the population. U.Due south. military officials dispute the decease toll in this incident besides equally claims that a separate incident in Farah Province left as many equally 140 civilians dead. Subsequently existence named top U.South. commander in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan in mid-2009, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal orders an overhaul of U.S. air strike procedures. “We must avoid the trap of winning tactical victories, but suffering strategic defeats, past causing noncombatant casualties or excessive impairment and thus alienating the people,” the general writes.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama.

Defense force Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama.
Gerald Herbert/AP Images

Obama Recommits to Afghanistan

Newly elected U.South. President Barack Obama announces plans to send seventeen g more troops to the state of war zone. Obama reaffirms campaign statements that Afghanistan is the more of import U.S. front confronting terrorist forces. He says the United States volition stick to a timetable to draw down most combat forces from Iraq by the end of 2011. As of January 2009 the Pentagon has thirty-seven chiliad troops in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan, roughly divided between U.S. and NATO commands. Reinforcements focus on countering a “resurgent” Taliban and stemming the menstruum of foreign fighters over the Afghan-Pakistan edge in the due south. Speaking on the troop increment, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates describes the original mission in Afghanistan equally “too broad” and calls for establishing express goals such as preventing and limiting terrorist safe havens.

President Obama speaks with Richard Holbrooke.

President Obama speaks with Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, at the State Section in Washington.
Charles Dharapak/AP Images

A New American Strategy

President Obama announces a new strategy for the war endeavor, linking success in Afghanistan to a stable Pakistan. The core goal of the strategy, as outlined in an interagency white paper, is “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its safe havens in Islamic republic of pakistan, and to prevent their return to Pakistan or Afghanistan.” The strategy urges the passage of increased aid to Pakistan and a strict standard of measuring progress in fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Plans also call for the deployment of an boosted four 1000 soldiers to help train the Afghan army and law force. Afghan President Karzai welcomes the strategy, stating that the program will bring Afghanistan and the international community closer to success.

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A town leader shows his former office and police station to a Hungarian ISAF soldier.

An Afghan boondocks leader with a Hungarian ISAF soldier, Burka, Afghanistan, 2009.
Bela Szandelszky/AP Images

A Dissimilar Call to NATO

Senior U.S. military officials and commanders, altering grade from the Bush administration, call on NATO nations to supply non-military assets to Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. Officials stress the demand for NATO members to step up in building Afghan ceremonious social club, such equally providing resources for PRTs. A two-day NATO summit in early April ends with a promise by NATO nations to transport an boosted v g troops to train the Afghan ground forces and law force, and to provide security for the state’s August presidential election.

The head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal shakes hands with a marine before boarding a military plane.

U.South. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the caput of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Jason Straziuso/AP Images

Control Change

Secretary of Defence force Robert Gates replaces the tiptop U.Due south. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, with counterinsurgency and special operations guru Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. McKiernan’due south removal comes eleven months after he assumed command of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Gates says the Pentagon needs “fresh thinking” and “fresh eyes” on the Afghanistan war at a time when many analysts say operations there are spiraling out of control. Reports indicate that the appointment of McChrystal is intended to bring a more “aggressive and innovative” approach to the Afghan state of war effort in tune with a more focused animus strategy.

U.S. Marines  prepare to board CH-53D Sea Stallion and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters.

U.South. Marines in Dwyer, Afghanistan, July 2009.
Chief Warrant Officer iii Philippe Chasse, U.S. Marine Corps/Department of Defense)

New Strategy, Old Battles

U.S. Marines launch a major offensive in southern Transitional islamic state of afghanistan, representing a major test for the U.S. military’s new counterinsurgency strategy. The offensive, involving four thousand Marines, is launched in response to a growing Taliban insurgency in the country’s southern provinces, especially Helmand Province. The operation focuses on restoring government services, bolstering local police force forces, and protecting civilians from Taliban incursion. By August 2009 U.Due south. forces are to number between sixty g and threescore-viii thou.

An Afghan policeman sit in front of campaign posters of Hamid Karzai.

An Afghan policeman with campaign photos of Hamid Karzai.
Allauddin Khan/AP Images

Afghan Presidential Election

Afterward more than two months of doubtfulness post-obit a disputed presidential election on August 20, Afghan President Karzai wins some other term. The August 20 election, which pitted Karzai against top contenders Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, was marred by fraud allegations. An investigation by the UN-backed Balloter Complaints Commission finds Karzai won simply 49.67 percent of the vote, below the 50 percent-plus-one threshold needed to avoid a runoff. Nether international pressure, Karzai agrees to a runoff vote on November 7. Merely a week earlier the runoff, Karzai’s primary rival Abdullah pulls out, and Karzai is alleged the winner. Concerns over Karzai’s legitimacy grow, and the United States and other international partners call for improved governance. U.Southward. Secretarial assistant of State Hillary Clinton ties all futurity civilian assist to greater efforts by the Karzai assistants to combat corruption.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to cadets at the U.S. Armed services Academy in West Point, New York
Jim Young/Reuters

Obama’s Afghan Surge

Nine months after renewing the U.S. commitment to the Afghan war attempt, President Obama announces a major escalation of the U.S. mission. In a nationally televised speech, the president commits an additional thirty thou forces to the fight, on peak of the lx-eight thousand in place. These forces, Obama says, “will increment our ability to train competent Afghan Security Forces, and to partner with them and then that more Afghans tin become into the fight. And they will assist create the conditions for the United states to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.” For the first fourth dimension in the viii-year war try, a time frame is put on the U.S. military presence, as Obama sets July 2011 equally the start of a troop drawdown. Merely the president does non detail how long a drawdown volition take. Obama says U.Due south. national interests are linked to success in the Afghan state of war attempt, and argues that this temporary surge will strength Afghan political and military institutions to assume responsibility for their ain diplomacy.

U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Gen. David Petraeus will replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as his top commander in Afghanistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Gen. David Petraeus will replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal every bit his top commander in Afghanistan.
Larry Downing/Reuters

Gen. McChrystal Relieved From Afghan Command

Full general McChrystal is relieved of his post as commander of U.S. forces in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan, following a controversial
Rolling Stone
article in which he and his aides were quoted criticizing the assistants. President Obama nominates General David Petraeus, caput of the military’s Central Command and builder of the 2007 Iraq surge, to supercede McChrystal. The change in command comes at a crucial fourth dimension in the war, as boosted surge forces are scheduled to go far alee of a critical performance in Kandahar. Obama emphasizes that his acceptance of McChrystal’southward resignation does non reflect disagreement over the counterinsurgency strategy he had helped shape. “Nosotros are in full agreement about our strategy,” says Obama. “This is a change in personnel, not a change in policy.”

An Afghan National Army soldier guards a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan.

An Afghan National Army soldier guards a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan.
Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters

Timetable for Security Transition

At a summit in Lisbon, Portugal, NATO fellow member countries sign a proclamation agreeing to hand over full responsibility for security in Afghanistan to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. The transition process is set to begin in July 2011, with local security forces taking over control in relatively stable provinces and cities. The initial handover is to coincide with the start of a drawdown in the one hundred 1000-stiff contingent of U.S. troops deployed in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan, though the number of U.S. soldiers leaving is expected to exist a token amount. But many in Afghanistan and in the W, including members of the Afghan parliament, are concerned about the ability of national forces to have over from international troops.

The compound where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The compound where al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Bin Laden Killed

Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden, responsible for the 9/11 attacks, is killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan. The death of the The states’ primary target for a war that started 10 years agone fuels the long-simmering debate about continuing the Afghanistan state of war. Every bit President Obama prepares to announce the withdrawal of some or all of the xxx thousand surge troops in July, congressional lawmakers increasingly call for a hastened drawdown of U.S. troops, though some analysts argue for a sustained war machine engagement. Meanwhile, anti-Pakistan rhetoric grows in Afghanistan, where officials have long blamed terrorist safe havens in Pakistan for violence in Afghanistan. Afghan President Karzai reiterates that international forces should focus their military efforts across the border in Pakistan. “For years nosotros have said that the fight against terrorism is not in Afghan villages and houses,” he says.

U.S. soldiers looking at helicopters carrying U.S. Army soldiers.

Helicopters carrying U.S. Army soldiers take off from Combat Outpost Terra Nova in the Arghandab Valley north of Kandahar.
Bob Strong/Reuters

Obama Announces Troop Drawdown

President Obama outlines a plan to withdraw thirty-three m troops by the summertime of 2012—the surge troops sent in December 2009—including ten thousand by the cease of 2011. Polls show a record number of Americans do not support the war, and Obama faces pressure level from lawmakers, particularly Democrats, to sizably reduce U.S. forces in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. After the surge troops get out, an estimated lxx thousand U.S. troops are scheduled to stay through at least 2014. Obama confirms that the U.S. is holding preliminary peace talks with the Taliban leadership. With reconciliation in mind, the United nations Security Council days before splits a sanctions list between members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, making it easier to add together and remove people and entities.

U.S. soldiers stand at sunset at a temporary checkpoint in Dand district.

U.Southward. soldiers at a temporary checkpoint in Dand commune, south of Kandahar.
Denis Sinyakov/Reuters

Ten Years of War

The U.South. war in Afghanistan marks its tenth anniversary, with about hundred thousand U.S. troops deployed in a counterinsurgency role, primarily in southern and eastern regions. President Obama plans to withdraw all combat troops past 2014, simply serious doubts remain near the Afghan government’s capacity to secure the country. Amid a resilient insurgency, U.S. goals in Afghanistan remain uncertain and terrorist safe havens in Islamic republic of pakistan go along to undermine U.Southward. efforts. A decade in, the war’s tolls include ane,800 U.S. troop casualties and $444 billion in spending. The costs have eroded U.S. public support, with a global economic downturn, a 9.i pct unemployment charge per unit, and a $1.3 trillion annual budget arrears. While there are military gains, hopes for a deal with the Taliban to assistance wind down the conflict remain riddled with setbacks. Afghan President Karzai suspends the talks following the September 20 assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the regime’s chief negotiator, which Afghan officials arraign on the Pakistan-based Haqqani network. The group denies information technology.

Foreign ministers and world leaders at the international conference on the future of Afghanistan in Bonn, Germany.

Strange ministers and world leaders at the international conference on the time to come of Afghanistan in Bonn, Germany.

Bonn Briefing

Ten years subsequently the first international conference that discussed Transitional islamic state of afghanistan’southward political hereafter, dozens of countries and organizations come across once again in Bonn, Germany, to devise a roadmap of cooperation across the international troop withdrawal in 2014. Afghan President Karzai says the state will require $10 billion annually over the adjacent decade to shore up security and reconstruction, and commits to tackling corruption in substitution for continued international assistance. The briefing fails to reach its objectives—to lay down a design for Afghanistan’s transition to a self-sustaining and secure government—as the insurgency continues to rage, and Pakistan, a crucial histrion, refuses to attend.

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Afghans hold anti-U.S. demonstrations in Jalalabad province.

Afghans concord anti-U.Due south. demonstrations in Jalalabad province following the shooting of villagers in Kandahar allegedly by a U.Due south. soldier.
Parwiz Parwiz/Reuters

Taliban Cancel Talks; U.S.-Afghan Tensions Flare

In January, the Taliban strike a deal to open an part in Qatar, a move toward peace talks that the United States sees every bit a crucial part of a political settlement to ensure a stable Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. But ii months later, the Taliban suspend preliminary talks, accusing Washington of reneging on promises to take meaningful steps toward a prisoner swap. In Feb, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces the Pentagon’due south plan to conclude combat missions by as early equally mid-2013 and shift to a primarily security assistance function in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. Meanwhile, several incidents serve equally blows to the international mission, including an accidental burning of Qurans past U.Southward. troops and allegations that a U.S. soldier murdered at to the lowest degree sixteen Afghan villagers. Afghan President Karzai demands that foreign troops exist withdrawn from hamlet outposts and confined to military bases, which analysts say would profoundly accelerate the step of transition from NATO to Afghan command.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a news conference.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a news conference with NATO Secretary Full general Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Afghan Security Takeover Completed

Afghan forces accept the pb in security responsibility nationwide as NATO easily over control of the remaining xc-five districts. The U.S.-led coalition’southward focus shifts to war machine training and special operations-driven counterterrorism. The handover occurs on the same day equally the proclamation that Taliban representatives and U.S. officials will resume talks in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban take just opened an office. Afghan President Karzai, believing the role volition confer legitimacy on the insurgent grouping and serve as a diplomatic outpost, suspends negotiations with the United States. With its mandate expiring in Dec 2014, the United States must negotiate a bilateral security understanding with the Karzai regime to maintain a military presence.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with troops.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with troops later delivering remarks at Bagram Air Base in Kabul.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Obama Announces U.Southward. Troop Withdrawal

President Obama announces a timetable for withdrawing most U.S. forces from Transitional islamic state of afghanistan by the end of 2016. The offset stage of his programme calls for nine,800 U.S. troops to remain after the combat mission concludes at the cease of 2014, limited to training Afghan forces and conducting operations against “the remnants of al-Qaeda.” Obama says the drawdown will gratis resource for counterterrorism priorities elsewhere. Some analysts point to the insurgency’s resilience and question the plan’s rigidity. Both candidates vying to succeed Afghan President Karzai have promised to sign the security agreement that is a prerequisite of any post-2014 U.South. troop presence.

Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani exchange signed agreements to form a unity government.

Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani exchange signed agreements to form a unity authorities.
(Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

Ghani, Abdullah Concord to Unity Regime

Newly elected Afghan President Ghani signs a power-sharing agreement with his chief opponent, Abdullah, who had mobilized thousands of protesters every bit he challenged the voting results. The agreement, brokered later intensive diplomacy by U.Due south. Secretary of State John Kerry, establishes the office of chief executive for Abdullah. While the agreement staves off civil unrest, information technology ushers in protracted government dysfunction equally Ghani and Abdullah tussle over their respective prerogatives, such as appointments to security posts, at a time when the Taliban are making gains in the countryside. Ghani, a former World Depository financial institution specialist, is a Pashtun from the country’s south, like Karzai, but is seen past the Obama administration as a welcome alter. Karzai had railed confronting civilian casualties in the U.S. war attempt and was seen as fostering public corruption.

Video released by the U.S. Department of Defense shows the MOAB detonating in Nangarhar Province.

Video released by the U.S. Department of Defence shows the MOAB detonating in Nangarhar Province.
(U.S. Section of Defense/Handout via Reuters)

U.S. Attacks Islamic State Redoubt

The United States drops its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on suspected self-proclaimed Islamic Land militants at a cave complex in eastern Nangarhar Province. The weapon, known colloquially as “the mother of all bombs,” comes as newly elected President Donald Trump delegates decision-making authorities to commanders, including the possibility of calculation several thousand U.S. troops to the nearly ix thousand already deployed in that location. (In that location are virtually as many U.S. contractors every bit well.) The bombing casts a spotlight on the emergence of the Islamic State in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan. At the same time, the Taliban appear to be equally strong equally always, and the U.S. military describes the war as a stalemate. Kabul experiences suicide bombings [PDF] on a calibration never before seen, while the Taliban control or contest more than a tertiary [PDF] of the land. U.S. Marines are once over again dispatched to Helmand Province.

President Donald Trump addresses troops at Fort Myer.

President Donald Trump addresses troops at Fort Myer.
(Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Trump Signals Prolonged Afghan War

President Trump outlines his Afghanistan policy in an address to troops in Arlington, Virginia, saying that though his “original instinct was to pull out,” he will instead press alee with an open-ended military commitment to prevent the emergence of “a vacuum for terrorists.” Differentiating his policy from Obama’southward, Trump says decisions well-nigh withdrawal volition be based on “weather condition on the ground,” rather than arbitrary timelines. He invites Republic of india to play a greater role in rebuilding Transitional islamic state of afghanistan while castigating Islamic republic of pakistan for harboring insurgents. He as well pledges to loosen restrictions on combat fifty-fifty equally the United Nations reports an uptick [PDF] in civilian casualties caused past Afghan and coalition air strikes. A political settlement with the Taliban, Trump says, is far off.

Police officers keep watch at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul.

Constabulary officers proceed watch at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul.
(Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

Taliban Launch Major Attacks Among U.S. Escalation

The Taliban carry out a series of assuming terror attacks in Kabul that impale more 115 people among a broader upsurge in violence. The attacks come up as the Trump administration implements its Afghanistan plan, deploying troops beyond rural Afghanistan to suggest Afghan brigades and launching air strikes against opium labs to endeavor to decimate the Taliban’due south finances. The administration too cuts off security assistance worth billions of dollars to Islamic republic of pakistan for what President Trump called its “lies and deceit” in harboring Taliban militants. Critics of the National Unity Government say domestic politics—notably a showdown with a provincial governor—have distracted Afghan President Ghani from security.

The Taliban’s delegation to Doha attends a meeting in Moscow following the latest round of peace talks.

The Taliban’s delegation to Doha attends a meeting in Moscow following the latest round of peace talks.
Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

U.S.-Taliban Peace Talks Progress

Negotiations between the United states of america and the Taliban in Doha enter their highest level yet, building on momentum that began in belatedly 2018. The talks between U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and top Taliban official Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar center on the U.s. withdrawing its troops from Transitional islamic state of afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban pledging to block international terrorist groups from operating on Afghan soil. The ramped-up affairs follows signals that President Trump plans to pull out seven grand troops, about half the total U.S. deployment. Khalilzad says the United states of america will insist that the Taliban agree to participate in an intra-Afghan dialogue on the country’s political structure, as well equally a cease-fire. It is unclear whether Trump will condition the troop withdrawal on those terms.

Troops stand near a blue pickup truck that is battered by an explosion and surrounded by debris.

Troops investigate the site of a auto flop attack that the Taliban says it carried out.
Omar Sobhani/Reuters

Trump Calls Off Peace Talks

President Trump abruptly breaks off peace talks a week after top U.Due south. negotiator Khalilzad announced that an agreement had been reached “in principle” with Taliban leaders. In a tweet, Trump says he canceled a hugger-mugger meeting with the Taliban and Afghan President Ghani at Camp David after a U.S. soldier was killed in a Taliban attack. The Taliban say they are “committed to continuing negotiations,” but warn that the cancellation volition cause an increase in the number of deaths.

Zalmay Khalilzad sits at a table next to Abdul Ghani Baradar. Two other men hand them each a stack of documents.

Khalilzad and Baradar sign the understanding during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar.
Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters

U.Southward., Taliban Sign Deal on Path to Peace

U.Due south. envoy Khalilzad and the Taliban’s Baradar sign an agreement [PDF] that paves the way for a significant drawdown of U.Due south. troops in Afghanistan and includes guarantees from the Taliban that the country volition non be used for terrorist activities. The bargain says intra-Afghan negotiations should brainstorm the post-obit month, but Afghan President Ghani says the Taliban must meet his government’s own atmospheric condition before it enters talks. The U.Southward.-Taliban deal doesn’t call for an immediate end-burn, and in the days after its signing, Taliban fighters carry out dozens of attacks on Afghan security forces. U.S. forces respond with an air strike against the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand.

Delegates from the Afghan government and the Taliban attend talks in Doha.

Delegates from the Afghan regime and the Taliban attend talks in Doha.
Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters

Intra-Afghan Peace Talks Begin

Representatives of the Taliban and of the Afghan regime and ceremonious social club see face to face for the first time in Doha, Qatar, afterward most twenty years of war. The direct negotiations, which were delayed for months over a prisoner swap proposed in the earlier U.S.-Taliban deal, begin after the Afghan authorities completes the release of v chiliad Taliban prisoners. During opening remarks, both sides express eagerness to bring peace to Transitional islamic state of afghanistan and establish a framework for Afghan order later on U.Southward. troops withdraw. The government pushes for a end-fire, while the Taliban reiterate their call for the country to be governed through an Islamic organisation.

U.S. troops walk toward a helicopter in Afghanistan.

U.S. soldiers board a helicopter before a mission in Afghanistan.
Verniccia Ford/U.S. Army/Reuters

U.Due south. Announces Troop Withdrawal

Acting U.Due south. Defense Secretarial assistant Christopher C. Miller announces plans to halve the number of troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by mid-January, days earlier President-Elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated. Thousands of troops had already been pulled out post-obit an understanding with the Taliban in February, moving closer to fulfilling President Trump’s campaign promise to end the so-chosen forever wars. The annunciation comes equally negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban are deadlocked and the militant group continues to launch mortiferous attacks. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warns that withdrawing troops too early could allow Afghanistan to get a oasis for terrorists and the Islamic Country to rebuild its caliphate.

A U.S. service member hugs a woman and child after returning from Afghanistan.

A U.S. soldier hugs his family unit after returning to the United States in December 2020 post-obit his deployment in Afghanistan.
John Moore/Getty Images

Biden Decides on Complete U.S. Withdrawal by 9/eleven

President Biden announces that the United States volition not meet the borderline ready nether the U.Due south.-Taliban understanding to withdraw all troops by May one and instead releases a plan for a full withdrawal past September 11, 2021. “It’south time to terminate America’southward longest war,” he says. The remaining 3,500 troops in Afghanistan volition be withdrawn regardless of whether progress is fabricated in intra-Afghan peace talks or the Taliban reduce their attacks on Afghan security forces and citizens. NATO troops in Afghanistan volition also exit. Biden says Washington will keep to assist Afghan security forces and support the peace procedure. The Taliban say they will non participate in “whatsoever conference” on Afghanistan’south time to come until all foreign troops get out.

Taliban fighters stand behind a desk in the Afghan presidential palace.

Taliban fighters pose in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan’s presidential palace.
Zabi Karimi/AP Photo

Afghan Government Collapses as the Taliban Take Kabul

Facing fiddling resistance, Taliban fighters overrun the capital letter, Kabul, and take over the presidential palace hours afterwards President Ghani leaves the country. Taliban leaders say they volition concord talks with Afghan officials to form an “open up, inclusive Islamic government.” Onetime Afghan President Karzai and Abdullah, formerly the chief executive under Ghani, create a council to facilitate a peaceful transition to a Taliban government. The takeover follows the Taliban’s rapid advance, during which they captured all merely ii of Afghanistan’s provincial capitals and seized border crossings. Afghan security forces in some areas reportedly negotiated surrenders and avoided fighting the Taliban.

Joe Biden stands behind a podium in the White House.

President Joe Biden defends ending U.Due south. military involvement in Afghanistan during remarks at the White Business firm.
Leah Millis/Reuters

Biden Defends Withdrawal

President Biden says his administration fabricated the right decision in ending U.Southward. military interest in Afghanistan, arguing that the U.S. counterterrorism mission is complete. But he acknowledges that the troop withdrawal has been “messy” and blames Afghan security forces for failing to counter the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Usa deploys six thousand troops to evacuate U.S. and allied personnel and secure Kabul’s international airport, where chaos erupts as thousands of Afghans effort to flee. Biden says the armed forces will aid evacuate thousands of Afghans who worked with the Us, and he expands refugee-status access for vulnerable Afghans.

U.S. marines honor the service members killed outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport.

U.S. marines laurels the service members killed outside of Hamid Karzai International Airport.
U.S. Central Command/Reuters

Thirteen U.Southward. Service Members Killed Amid Scramble to Withdraw

Xiii U.Due south. service members are killed and at least eighteen are injured in an attack at a checkpoint outside the Kabul drome, where thousands of people are being evacuated. They are the commencement U.S. service members killed in action in Transitional islamic state of afghanistan since Feb 2020. At to the lowest degree 170 Afghans are likewise killed. The Islamic Land in Khorasan claims responsibility, and several days after, the U.s.a. launches an air strike targeting a suspected plotter from the grouping. Notwithstanding, the Pentagon later admits that the strike was a “mistake” and killed 10 civilians, including seven children.

U.S. Army Major General Chris Donahue is the last U.S. service member to leave Afghanistan on August 30, 2021.

U.S. Army Major Full general Chris Donahue is the last U.S. service fellow member to leave Afghanistan on August xxx, 2021.
XVIII Airborne Corps/Reuters

Twenty-Twelvemonth War Ends every bit U.S. Completes Withdrawal

The last U.S. war machine forces depart Afghanistan, leaving it under Taliban dominion. The exit follows a chaotic, two-week withdrawal process during which more than than 120,000 people are evacuated. The next day, President Biden says the Us should learn from its mistakes and that the withdrawal marks the stop of “an era of major military operations to remake other countries.” Thousands of Afghans who assisted the Usa and its allies, as well as upwardly to two hundred Americans, remain in Afghanistan. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington will work to get them out and that hereafter U.S. engagement in Afghanistan will focus on affairs.

Between 2008 and 2011 the Number of Us Troops


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